Rather than shying away from huge expectations, Spanish prodigy Carlos Alcaraz has set himself a lofty goal as he eyes a run deep into the Australian Open.
The 18-year-old, who has been dubbed the next Rafael Nadal, wants to break into the world's top 15 by the end of 2022.
And he can take a step in the right direction when he takes on Serbia's world No.39 Dusan Lajovic in the second round at Melbourne Park on Wednesday.
The pair meet on Court 2 as women's favourite Ash Barty, who encounters Italian qualifier Lucia Bronzetti, and Nadal take centre stage at Rod Laver Arena.
Nadal will be looking to build form and momentum when he takes on German qualifier Yannick Hanfmann, with a record-breaking 21st grand slam title firmly in his sights.
Men's third seed Alexander Zverev faces gritty Australian John Millman, while two-time women's champion Naomi Osaka does battle with the United States' Madison Brengle.
Alcaraz's section of the men's draw has been blown wide open by Novak Djokovic's extraordinary exit and the young gun plans to cash in on the world No.1's absence.
Victory over Lajovic would set up a third-round meeting with seventh seed Matteo Berrettini and continue a sharp rise to prominence for Alcaraz, who was a qualifier at Melbourne Park last year.
The youngest player in the men's draw has returned as the No.31 seed, brimming with confidence despite a bout of COVID-19 late last year after his run to the US Open quarter-finals.
"This year I know what I have to do is improve like last year," Alcaraz said after breezing past Chilean qualifier Alejandro Tabillo in the first round.
"That's my way - still learning, experience, still growing up.
"I'm a young player. This year is to grow up.
"I have a goal to end the year in the top 15. (It) is a good goal for me.
"To be able to play the Nitto (ATP) Finals, it's a really good goal for me, but so difficult as well."
Alcaraz opted not to play a lead-up tournament before the Open but has not appeared fazed by the lack of match practice.
"I played a great level the first match of the season, really good feelings," Alcaraz said.
"I hope the next match is going to be the same."
Australian Associated Press